A revolution in music

The Pittsburgh library will now “check out” music over the Internet for free by streaming it. It handles the copyright issues by only allowing as many simultaneous streams of a song as they own copies. If a song on your playlist is checked out, it will just skip on to the next one until it finds an open song. Think for a minute about the implications of this.

What if places and people outside of libraries did it? Everyone could get the fullest use of music. Since it’s impossible to listen to all your music at once on your own, get a lot of other people to help you with it! You could store all your music on a server that keeps a record of how many copies of each song you own, and anyone could go in, set up a playlist and start listening. Take the idea even further. What if someone set up a legal, peer-to-peer network to stream music? You could create enough upstream bandwidth by streaming from multiple locations, and each network could keep a per-node (to avoid centralization) song database.

It’s unclear to me what effect this would have on record sales. Oddly, I have a feeling that sales of one-hit wonder albums would stay about the same, while sales of CDs with more good tracks would actually drop.

Thanks to Rick for the info.

Smart phone recommendations?

Anyone got recommendations for smart phones to choose or avoid? I’m looking into picking one up. The main requirements are solid Internet (thus, a nice screen) and typing that doesn’t suck.

My provider is Cingular, so my options are:

The BlackBerry is pretty much out because Cingular’s variant only has proprietary BlackBerry IM, no AIM, Yahoo, etc. I’d appreciate opinions on the rest. Looks like the Samsung and Treo are both around $199, but the 8525 is $399. So if that’s the way to go, make your argument very convincing.


Update: I got the BlackBerry.

It’s been a while …

As that famous song [YouTube, last.fm] says, it’s been a while. Since last I blogged, that is. Lots of stuff going on in my world, although I haven’t been spending enough time on Gentoo lately.

I’ve joined the Web 2.0 trend, using Google Reader and saving my bookmarks on del.icio.us via the wonderful Firefox plugin. Next thing you know, I’ll be reading Digg or another equally trendy Slashdot replacement. The only thing like that I read now is the superb LWN. I just added the Planet Conary feed (thanks ferringb!), because I think there’s a lot Gentoo can learn from rPath, since it’s got a similar base.

My Gentoo activity is probably best illustrated via the CIA commit stats — only 9 commits this week and 41 this month. A large part of my drop in commit activity lately is thanks to Joshua Baergen (Josh_B on IRC), who’s really started to take over X maintenance with double my commits this month, mostly in preparation for X.Org 7.2 as well as the new input-hotplug work for X.Org 7.3.

In Gentoo, we plan to show you a mixture of 7.2 and 7.3. What we try to do is mix and match the latest individual X component releases wherever they’re compatible, regardless of which “official release” they come from. So you may already have a number of input-hotplug components, and the only changes you’d need to make are the server and drivers. This mirrors what you saw with 7.0 and 7.1, where the server and drivers lagged back on 7.0 waiting for Nvidia and ATI while all the other components jumped to 7.1.

I’d like to publicly thank Diego Pettenò (look, I got the accent right!) for his contributions to XCB, both in my overlay and upstream. On that note, I encourage anyone using my overlay to send me patches for anything that doesn’t work. There’s no reason a personal overlay should only hold commits from that person.

In the past month, I’ve gotten in touch with two new, exciting ventures using Gentoo. Engine Yard is a Ruby on Rails deployment provider that allows you to purchase virtual clusters, and SiCortex is an innovative HPC cluster creator that uses Gentoo on clusters with 5,800 nodes. Check out the videos on the Engine Yard site, they’ve got one specifically about their use of Gentoo.

I’ve also taken on the job of creating a monthly newsletter for the OSEL, which aims to get more students involved in open source at OSU and liaise with the academic side of the university, while the LUG interfaces with the local community and the OSL connects with the broader, outside community. This is really exciting for me because I’ve got a significant journalism background [PDF] (and no, that contact information is no longer accurate), but I haven’t had a chance to use it for a couple of years. I’ll share the first issue with all of you once I finish it.

My birthday is (also) coming

Yes, Diego, you’re not the only one with a birthday in November. =) Mine will be this Saturday. I’m not as modest as you, though — here’s links to my Amazon wishlist and PayPal to prove it! Consider PayPal my “Saving for a Mac Mini / PS3 / nice LCD” account. My Amazon wishlist contains a number of books ranging from less than $10 to more than $100, many of which would help in Linux work, others with grad school, and a few for (gasp!) entertainment.

If you appreciate what I’ve done for Gentoo in the past 3 1/2 years, feel free to give something back.